Reading Guadeloupe: Segu

Segu, by Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Barbara Bray

I’m not sure how to tackle this book. Massive amount of mixed emotions, which is a legit response to a creative work, right? I’m not in the business of in-depth reviews, so I’ll use that to my advantage here and just drop some basic thoughts…


  • Great to interact with the places and the history. I want to know more. So much more. The story takes place at a time and place of great change: A West African kingdom at the dawn of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, with Christianity and Europeans intruding from the west, and Islam sweeping in from the northern desert. Upheaval and uncertainly were everywhere, and it makes for dynamic ground for storytelling.


  • There is a lot of sexual assault in this book. Of children. I could not get past it.

So. There it is. This is a novel of larger cultural significance; much has been written about it, most of it positive. I’m afraid I’m not in that place with it, but you might be. That’s one of the reasons for my brevity when “reviewing”a work ; literature is for us to explore, and to get to know on our own.

View From The Southern Shore Of The Niger River
View From The Southern Shore Of The Niger River (image by GMason, via Wikimedia Commons)

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